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2014-02-28_Iguazu
  • No KMZ (Google Earth) for this traveldiary.
María Magdalena de Delicia
Shall the light sparkle by half past 6am and before 8am the rural environment of Misiones province became visible, featuring the typical red sand of the region.
d03_01 (2014-03-02 07:42:18) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_02 (2014-03-02 08:06:03) -- show location on Google Maps
Exactly over the Río Uruguay. You can already sense the proximity of the jungle.
d03_03 (2014-03-02 08:15:16) -- show location on Google Maps
08:15 breakfast is served. What's totally the same like the afternoon snack (la merienda, learn Argentine words) ... alright-alright but after the sugar explosion I had my individually brought ham-cheese sandwich.
d03_04 (2014-03-02 08:23:45) -- show location on Google Maps
Puerto Iguazú
By 8:45am we arrived successfully to Puerto Iguazú, by 9:30am the accommodation was fixed. Check-in only and only from 2pm, but fortunately there's a room to leave the backpack.

Although Puerto Iguazú isn't as big as for instance Mendoza - thus no need to be close to the bus terminal - yet if yourself too will choose the Marco Polo Inn Iguazú hostel, it means on one side of the street is the hostel, other the bus terminal. Dale.
d03_05 (2014-03-02 08:45:26) -- show location on Google Maps
Hello Iguazú Falls, here I am!
The return ticket cost 70 pesos on the bus terminal, 65 pesos the entrance to the park - additionally I myself as well bought the very recommended Aventura Aquatica aka Aquatic Adventure extra experience package for 220 pesos.

Oh. There's something else here. Anyone noticed the Nac: AR - Buenos Aires row, right? Then I'll explain it briefly. It means Nacionalidad: Argentina - Buenos Aires what exactly means with my TEMPORARY RESIDENCY PERMIT I got a ticket like the locals. Not as it supposed but must be.

Not colubrine profiteer factual facts.
d03_06 (2014-03-02 10:22:08) -- show location on Google Maps
You're welcome. You can visit the park when the Moon is full, FYI.
d03_07 (2014-03-02 10:23:34) -- show location on Google Maps
Quick getting through at the entrance and strolled to the train. The Wikipedia site of the Iguazú National Park can be clicked here, its official page here, and since 1984 the park is the 303. member of the UNESCO World Heritage, the relevant page is here.

The history of the region and the park
The first inhabitants of the region were the members of the Neolithic Eldoradense culture, who lived here around 10,000 years ago.
Not to be mistaken with the mythical, more to the north El Dorado. In this context this represents the Eldorado department and their people in the Misiones province in northeastern Argentina.
They spent their days in a hunter-gatherer society, further to mention their pottery skills: they made various pots, vases and plates from clay. You can read more about the Neolithic and later history of the region starting from this page in Spanish.

In 1,000 CE the Guaraní flooded the area and drove away these ethnicities who already lived there; groups which spoke the language, for example the Káingang people (meaning: men of the forest). The name of the waterfall and the region originates to the Guaraní language: y ûasú which means large water.

Yin and yang, black and white, vanilla- and chocolate pudding, the history always repeats itself only changes its instruments, thus in the 16. century now the Guaraní were driven away by the Portuguese and Spanish colonists.

This time we're writing 1542, when Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer with his nice long name arrived from the Paraguayan Asunción. His name is remembered because he had the honour as the first recognized European person to spot the natural beauty of the Iguazú Falls. Nonetheless Álvar was a bit too officious, because he quickly baptised the waterfall as Saltos de Santa María (Holy Mary's Waterfalls), but later to respect the Guaraní legacy, the original name was restored.

The Jesuit missionaries arrived in 1609 and ruled the land for about 150 years (minus the Brazilian-Portuguese bandeirantes slaver groups). The development of the region and waterfalls started on the 10th of September 1901, when Señorita Victoria Aguirre donated 3,000 pesos to build the walkways and a house made of wood serving as a relaxing place. The first political recognition and support reached the park in 1902, Joaquín Víctor González Minister of Justice and Public Instruction charged Carlos Thays landscape architect with the project to enhance the accessibility and modernize the park.

The Iguazú National Park on 550 km2 opened its gates in 1934 and for 80 years has been giving a place for one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Argentina: its main attraction is the Iguazú Falls embraced by the subtropical jungle.
d03_08 (2014-03-02 10:46:38) -- show location on Google Maps
You'll meet a little house too with some exhibition items.
d03_09 (2014-03-02 10:49:55) -- show location on Google Maps
Along with the Jesuits.
d03_10 (2014-03-02 10:50:32) -- show location on Google Maps
Neat and maintained park.
d03_11 (2014-03-02 10:55:12) -- show location on Google Maps
Train travel to the Lower Circuit
Tren de la Selva - Jungle train (Wikipedia). The 600 mm narrow track gauge train started to operate from the July 2001 and runs on 7 km left to the Iguazú River. It has three stops:
  • Estación Central (Central) station
  • Cataratas (Waterfalls) station
  • Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) station
The journey time is respectively 10 and 15 minutes between the stops, the frequency is about 15 minutes for the cars which can carry 120-150 passengers. The trains use liquefied petroleum gas, thus don't pollute the environment. Furthermore the about 18 km per hour (11.2 miles per hour) speed ensures the low noise pollution.

Noise pollution is something worth to pay attention and continuously and severely stress the politicians to work against it.
d03_12 (2014-03-02 11:05:38) -- show location on Google Maps
Halo optical phenomenon in the Iguazú Park.
d03_13 (2014-03-02 11:13:55) -- show location on Google Maps
Circuito Superior
The 650 metres long Upper Circuit is the first stop in the park, where respectively to its name the visitors can admire the waterfalls from above.

panorama01
On the other side you can see the Brazilian side, to the right the San Martín waterfall.

panorama02
Anandenanthera colubrina.
d03_14 (2014-03-02 11:49:27) -- show location on Google Maps
You ain't gonna see anything like this often, not even on National Geographic.
(I apologize.)

If I'm not mistaken, a Tropidurus torquatus is visible.
d03_15 (2014-03-02 11:50:48) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_16 (2014-03-02 11:53:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Yacare caiman.
d03_17 (2014-03-02 11:59:54) -- show location on Google Maps
South American coati. Cute and sweet as they walk among the visitors. But as the signs warn, don't disturb them very closely because it's not good for them, neither for you if they bite.
d03_18 (2014-03-02 12:24:09) -- show location on Google Maps
The 80% of the waterfalls can be found on the Argentine side, the visitors with exceptional amount of free time can count 275 (this is only a portion, don't start here).
d03_19 (2014-03-02 12:28:42) -- show location on Google Maps
Wet voyage
A little stair climbing and strolling on the 1,700 metres long Lower Circuit, then finally I joined the adventure navigation at the bottom. When you buy the ticket or it's being inspected before getting the life-savers, people advise you'll get an umbrella or a raincoat against the water spray.
d03_20 (2014-03-02 12:44:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Against the water spray and raincoat...of course: they take you under the waterfall and give you a nice splash. :)

So if you opt for the navigation, then prepare with a swimsuit or at least a very light summer apparel and flip flop. You don't get any raincoat but a waterproof bag with limited size for your values.

By the way it's a good fun, but one time is sufficient to pay 220 pesos for a 10 minute shower.
d03_21 (2014-03-02 13:34:25) -- show location on Google Maps
The world is small. While I squeezed out the water from my shoes and noted the quick drying of the shirt and shorts, a couple in their fifties did the same and mentioned they're from Hungary too. They enjoyed the park via an organized trip.
d03_22 (2014-03-02 13:44:43) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_23 (2014-03-02 13:52:57) -- show location on Google Maps
Toward the Devil's Throat
To the next station: Garganta del Diablo.
d03_24 (2014-03-02 15:02:10) -- show location on Google Maps
Puerto Canoas.

panorama03
The U-shaped Devil's Throat is the highest waterfall: the water plummets from 82 meters high.

panorama04
d03_25 (2014-03-02 15:34:07) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_26 (2014-03-02 15:36:05) -- show location on Google Maps
Crowd of people, crowd of people.
d03_27 (2014-03-02 15:37:00) -- show location on Google Maps
Going down
I waited sometime for the train but 10 minutes later got bored about the usual Latino habits of queueing. I just decided to walk.
d03_28 (2014-03-02 15:52:52) -- show location on Google Maps
Strolling back to the entrance. Train to the left, behind the lush plants to the right one can find the Río Iguazú.
d03_29 (2014-03-02 16:06:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Sendero Verde, Green walkway. When you return to the entrance it's recommended to choose the walking (plusminus 30 minutes), because you can walk through such cozy arbours.
d03_30 (2014-03-02 16:22:34) -- show location on Google Maps
Entrance...exit and leaving the Argentine Iguazú National Park.

panorama05
Again in the city
Before that I had to buy a new ticket, because the green bag got soaked at one point - bless Pachamama, the photo gear had no harm - but alas the return ticket was marinated to the point of irrecognizability.

Immediately after we got back to the city I stepped into the local office of Crucero del Norte (kind of hard to miss but it's here) and for mere 60 pesos I bought the ticket to the Brazilian side of Iguazú. And oh, what a mischievous act from Pachamama, they are willing to sell only a roundtrip ticket, one way not (I needed only that, as I'll have 1 night in Foz do Iguaçu).

Hostel check-in: done.
Evening and dinner
Around 8pm I started to walk, withdraw and hide some crispy Argentine mangos into my wallet from a Macro bank. Then on the other side of the road the greenish sign of Betos illuminated. I learned the language back during the travel to Mendoza in June of 2013, when this was the source of the supper for our team on the last night. The tip was quite good, the until then totally unknown company makes good burgers thus the waitress took my order quickly.

The Coke Terror
While I awaited the dinner, I spent the time with mustering the other people. On the other, outside of the window a 4 person group just finished the dinner, one woman threw down the paper tissue on the ground between the window and the table. There's enough room there. Few minutes later a family arrived: father, mother and a little girl around the age of 2-3. Daddy sits to the left, Mommy sits in front of me and the little girl on her lap. We want a Quilmes, a big coke and these sandwiches. - the order was given.

A few minutes later the beer and the coke arrived, Mommy filled the nursing bottle with the latter - then put it into the mouth of the girl along encouraging the drinking.

Can you imagine a little person with sparkling eyes, who sits in front of you, with both hands and faraway look concentrates and gulps the nectar of the gods, the dark opiate, the sweet proto-medicine as known everyday as coke? I still haven't forgotten those eyes.

Meanwhile my sandwich arrived: Betos lomo grande (Tenderloin by Betos) what costs 63 pesos and 1 l Quilmes 37 mangos. After the dinner I rounded up the final sum to 110 pesos because the guests of the hectic restaurant made the nice waitress running up and down.
d03_31 (2014-03-02 20:46:11) -- show location on Google Maps
By half past 9pm I'm back in the hostel, two guys arrived from Quilmes - the southern agglomeration of Buenos Aires. They're just now heading to have the dinner, alas it's not a case with me so I left for a walk. People walk on the main street, a man next to the fence calls me: Amigo, cocaine, marijuana? Are you ready to start the night? I was stupefied for a second because the amigo was quite fast (I didn't even see his face clearly) so I refused his offer.

Still walked some time then decided to end the day.
d03_32 (2014-03-02 21:29:37) -- show location on Google Maps